Passers-by the Tahlequah Middle School choir room Monday may have been led to believe the room was full of vipers, as hissing noises echoed throughout the empty hallways.
In reality, 18 area young in grades 3-6 were learning “Trust In Me,” a song from Disney’s “Jungle Book,” in preparation of upcoming performance slated for Thursday, June 19 at the Tahlequah High School Performing Arts Center.
TPS teachers David Fuller and Amy Wright are hosting “Jungle Book Kids,” a fine arts camp that runs from 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, through June 20. Cost for the camp is $60 per student, and parents can sign kids up through today – Wednesday, June 4.
“Kids can be involved in all aspects of the performance, from singing and acting to set design and construction,” said Fuller.
TMS choir teacher Amy Wright is helping the students with the music and choreography, and Fuller is instructing the youth on acting.
“We have 19 kids signed up so far, which is a pretty good turnout,” said Fuller. “But this show can accommodate up to 40 on stage.”
Fuller said those who may be a little shy about performing have options to exercise their artistic sides.
“We can help them with their creativity and set the up designing, building and painting sets,” said Fuller. “This is the first year Tahlequah Public Schools has offered a fine arts camp, and we think it’s a great opportunity for the students.”
“This gives kids an outlet for the summer to let them express themselves,” said Wright. “This week, we’re introducing the story ‘The Jungle Book,’ and are watching other productions of the play. We want to spur their interest, and hopefully get more kids involved.”
Wright hopes this year’s camp can be the catalyst for future summer endeavors.
“We want to build a tradition,” said Wright.
On Monday, Fuller helped the kids get acclimated to being on stage, give them some fundamentals.
“Now, you might not be singing or speaking at the moment, but you could be on stage as part of a group,” said Fuller. “You might not think people are looking at you, but they are.”
Fuller stressed the importance of staying “in character,” being still when required and not distracting from the story line by fidgeting or waving at family.
His first exercise with the group was to have individual kids act out individual emotions without speaking, using only facial expressions and body movement. The other students had to guess what emotion was being portrayed.
“So, let’s say I gave you the word ‘furious,’” said Fuller. “Now, angry is close, but isn’t quite as severe as furious. It will be important for you to remember those things. As you guess, I’ll try to give little hints if it seems likes it’s hard.”
Fuller began calling on students to come in front of the group and act, asking each one if they wanted an easy, medium or hard emotion. In the beginning, the majority of those participating chose harder emotions, with the group needing very little help guessing the correct feeling.
Parents can sign their children up for “Jungle Book Kids” fine arts camp through noon, Wednesday, June 4, at the Tahlequah Middle School. For more information, call 918-458-4140.